Police detained Ding Lingjie, an editor of the human rights news website Minsheng Guancha, while she was visiting relatives in Zibo city, Shandong province, on September 22, 2017, according to media reports. When Ding’s relative came home on September 23, she found that the house had been raided and that Ding, along with her computer, cellphone, and other belongings, was missing.
When Ding's family called the local police station to report her missing, a police officer told the family that the Shijingshan branch of the Beijing municipal police had detained the journalist, according to Xu Qin, an independent human rights researcher who started "Ding Lingjie Watch," a microblog discussion group on WeChat to raise public awareness of Ding's disappearance.
Ding’s brother, Ding Lingxi, told CPJ on September 30, 2017, that he had not received any warrant nor explanation from police as to why his sister, who suffers from hyperostosis, was detained. According to Radio Free Asia, Ding’s lawyer Ren Quanniu requested to meet with his client after learning that Ding might be detained at the Shijingshan Detention Center. Although Ren’s first request was rejected by authorities, on November 8, 2017, authorities finally allowed Ding to meet with her lawyer, according to the Radio Free Asia report. Ren told Radio Free Asia that authorities told him the reason for the arrest was that Ding "insulted the state leader.”
Ren told CPJ that on May 17, 2018, the People’s Court of Shijingshand District in Beijing returned the case to the police for supplementary investigation. On July 9, 2018, the court decided to prosecute Ding for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” according to Radio Free Asia’s interview with Ren. In late August 2018, Ren told CPJ that there was no new information regarding Ding’s trial date.
An officer at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Shijingshan Branch told CPJ in September 2018 that the branch does not take interviews and declined to answer CPJ’s questions about Ding’s case.